4 projects win BCA's Platinum award for user-friendly design

The lush greenery in Mapletree Business City II, which has more than 1,400 trees, was one of the features that helped the business park win big at the BCA Universal Design Mark Awards.
The lush greenery in Mapletree Business City II, which has more than 1,400 trees, was one of the features that helped the business park win big at the BCA Universal Design Mark Awards.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO
City Square Mall has a playground with a merry-go-round that caters to children who use wheelchairs. The mall won the BCA-MSF Universal Design Mark for Family-Friendly Business.
City Square Mall has a playground with a merry-go-round that caters to children who use wheelchairs. The mall won the BCA-MSF Universal Design Mark for Family-Friendly Business.

It is a business park so seamlessly connected to nearby parks that otters have entered its lush, green compound for illicit suppers at a fish pond.

Animals find themselves right at home at the Mapletree Business City II in Pasir Panjang, which boasts more than 1,400 trees.

These garden features have helped the business park win big at the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Universal Design Mark Awards - it is one of four projects this year to clinch the top Platinum award.

The other three are City Square Mall, Kampung Admiralty and Changi Airport Terminal 4. Only one project won Platinum last year.

The awards, introduced in 2012, recognise buildings that are accessible and user-friendly. There are 26 winners this year, including developments such as condominiums, hospitals and shopping malls, said BCA yesterday.

The awards will be presented on May 22.

Extensive open areas with high ceilings and good air circulation are by no means an accident, said Mr Moses Lee, Mapletree's director of investments and asset management for Singapore investments, during a tour of the business park on Wednesday. "The ground floor and mezzanine floor are for parking and traffic. This allows more open areas on the elevated deck for pedestrians to enjoy public spaces and the lush landscape," he said.

The planning even extends to knowing which way the wind blows.

Fitted at the side of the business park's sheltered walkways are automated rain screens that are lowered in bad weather. Such attention to detail has attracted tenants such as Google to the business park.

Another winner this year is City Square Mall by City Developments (CDL), the first Platinum recipient under the new BCA-MSF Universal Design Mark for Family-Friendly Business.

The category is a collaboration between BCA and the Ministry of Social and Family Development and recognises projects that are family-friendly not just for their design but also their services.

Besides having a playground with a merry-go-round that caters to children who use wheelchairs, City Square Mall also ensures that all staff at its service counter are trained in first aid.

This proved helpful last December, said CDL's centre director of the mall, Mr Lionel Chua, when a child fell and had a cut on his temple. "We want our staff to engage shoppers and always be there for them."

City Square Mall was also one of the first malls to introduce "help call points" at its entrances when it opened in 2009. Shoppers can use these call machines to contact service staff if they need help - for example, if they require wheelchairs.

There is also an air-conditioned taxi stand in the basement.

Mr Clement Tseng, BCA group director for building plan and management, said: "The winners for this year's BCA Universal Design Mark Awards exemplify an emphasis on people-centric designs to create communities and promote inclusivity for all, including people with disabilities and the elderly."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline '4 projects win BCA's Platinum award for user-friendly design'. Print Edition | Subscribe